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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cook With Me: The Kings and Queens of Caul



So, a crepinette is French in origin. Surprised? Don't be. The French are the reigning Roi et Reine (Kings and Queens) of charcuterie. A crepinette in actuality is nothing more than a flattened patty of ground and seasoned meats aka sausage, a parcel in other words. But what makes it a crepinette is that in French crepin means pigs caul.

Caul fat is the lacy belly fat that encases many ground meat specialties in France. And let me tell you, not having to cajole and stuff your luscious savory ground meat concoction into a casing is pretty exhilirating. Now the only task is to procure the moments to produce these extraordinary culinary morsels.

These crepinettes combine pork and shrimp and hark back to some of my very first visits to the Nerac market in Southwest France. With my family by my side, we sought out the Vietnamese vendors and the delicious chicken wings and legs stuffed with a very similar preparation.

Have you ever reproduced a recipe at home that you first enjoyed while traveling? I'd love to hear your story!


Vietnamese Restaurant in Nerac, circa 2006

Crepinettes with Pork and Shrimp

For filling
8 oz. ground pork
8 oz. shrimp, peeled and minced
4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced with salt
2 scallions, minced
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 small egg, lightly beaten

For wrapping
1 pound caul fat

For fish sauce or nuoc cham
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced carrot
1 teaspoon garlic chile paste, rooster brand
3 tablespoons white sugar
Juice of three limes
4 tablespoons of rice vinegar
4 tablespoons fish sauce

For garnish
1 bunch each fresh basil, cilantro and mint – cleaned and torn and mixed


Vietnamese Restaurant in Nerac, circa 2006

Make the sauce
In a medium bowl combine the garlic, chile paste, carrots, sugar, lime juice, vinegar, and fish sauce. Mix all together, adjust to taste with more sugar, lime, or vinegar. Chill till ready to serve.

Make the filling
In a bowl, mix the ingredients together to form the filling.

Wrap and roast

Cut 6 inch square sections from the caul fat and wrap 1/3 cup of sausage with it. roll up in a cylinder, sausage like shape and set on a sheet pan. when finished roast in 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until crispy and brown.

Serve the Crepinettes

Place the fresh basil, cilantro, and mint on a platter and arrange the crepinettes on top. Pass the Fish Sauce.

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